Trumpeter Alison Balsom has a dozen recordings for the Warner Classics label under her belt. Brilliantly talented and charismatic, she could easily have continued releasing music along the lines that brought her success, and it is to her credit that she strikes out in new directions with Royal Fireworks, an album that followed a three-year pause in her recording career. There is a suite of pieces from Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks, HWV 351, but that's not the center of the program. Instead, Balsom, with help from conductor and arranger Simon Wright, brings together music that shows her trumpet in various situations. She has played a natural Baroque trumpet before, and she's clearly comfortable on the instrument, but she has never fully entered into a Baroque aesthetic as she does here. For one thing, she formed her own Balsom Ensemble, a collection of top historical-instrument performers. Better yet, the group seems to have fun together, along with producing precise intonation in the Italianate trumpet solo pieces by Telemann and Purcell, the brass ensemble work in the Handel and pieces from Bach's Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248, and the Funeral Sentences for the Death of Queen Mary of Purcell, the latter included on a trumpet recital certainly for the first time here. The album is likely to appeal both to Balsom's usual fans and to Baroque historical-performance listeners.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Music for the Royal Fireworks, HWV 351|
|Trumpet Sonata in D Major, Z. 850|
|Cantata No. 147, Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV147|
|Trumpet Concerto, TWV 51:D7|
|Weihnachtsoratorium, BWV 248|
|Funeral Sentences for the Death of Queen Mary, Z. 27|